To-do list s are great motivators and progress trackers. With a good to-do list you can organize your day for maximum productivity. Anybody who ever had a day full of tasks and important things to do knows the value of a good to-do list.
These are few tricks I learned on how to write a good to-do list that helps to stay organized and productive.
Yes, you can just write down everything you need and want to do. Completely terrify yourself with the amount of tasks you have to do, destroy your motivation by the way. And at the end of the day feel like a complete failure for not accomplishing half of a list, or you can adopt some of these genius tips and be productivity master.
1. Lucky number 3
This way of writing to-do list consists of, you may guess, 3 categories:
1. Dream Big
It’s never a bad thing to shoot high. There is a bigger chance you will actually succeed, rather than if you had modest plans.
On this to-do list write all your BIG DREAMS/GOALS.
Goals that have no time limit. All those ˝one day I will˝ goals, ˝I wish…but…˝, ˝If…I would…˝. All of those ˝improbable˝, ˝impossible˝ goals.
They can be as crazy and far from reality as you want. Here is important to use imagination and freedom of dreaming without boundaries. This is a very good motivation and out-of-box-thinking exercise. You may not believe me but this actually improves your productivity.
I once made a goal that, in that moment, seemed out of reach but in few months started to realize. I couldn’t believe. Since then I always make bigger goals than my current situation and they subconsciously shape all my decisions and actions towards that goal.
Try this little exercise, you have nothing to lose. And hey, you never know, you just might make them happen.
2. Big list
This is a list of your specific plans. Write down everything you wish or need to do. Make such a list for week, month, year or other time frame that suites your needs. Rank each task as very, medium or little important (use colour markers for easier orientation).
You will referee to this list when you organize your day. Having all your long-term goals/tasks/wishes at hand when making your daily plans will help you not only organize your day better, but also will motivate you to accomplish them.
3. Daily plans
Every day at the same time write down a list for that day or next day. I like to write my list for that day in the morning while drinking coffee, maybe you like to write yours for next day before sleep. Try different times and see what works best for you.
When making a daily list write down the most important tasks for that day and those are the ones you will do first. Every day go back to your long-term plans and see if you can do something about it that day.
2. Bite-sized tasks for better productivity
If you have a big task in front of you break it into smaller steps that way the big task wont seem so intimidating and you will have more confidence in accomplishing it. No matter how complicated and extensive your task is it can always be separated in smaller, more manageable tasks.
3. Prioritize than Organize
Important or difficult tasks should always be on top of the list. When you start the day you have more energy and focus to do the heavy work first. After completing big tasks you will feel more confident because you finished hard work, and you will have motivation to finish other easier tasks from the list. If you are procrastinating or avoiding certain tasks they are draining your energy. See if they are important. If yes do them immediately, if not move on and forget about them. You will lift a burden off your mind and have more energy and focus for other things.
4. Schedule for Productivity
Some people are more productive knowing when they have to do each task. This is also a very good method for those who have trouble with procrastination, if you know when you will do something it is bigger chance you will actually do it.
I was a big procrastinator and this little trick helped me stay on top of my obligations. Otherwise I would just stand like frozen in front of big list of tasks and wouldn’t know where to start. Taking few minutes a day to schedule each task on to-do list makes my day a whole lot more productive.
5. Little rest goes a long way
When writing a scheduled to-do list always leave 15-20 minutes in between tasks, it will prevent unnecessary stress.This is especially important for those days when you have too many tasks on different locations. And if you manage on time you will have 15 minutes to rest little bit. Win win.
6. Less is More
Don’t torture yourself, list is there for you, to help you, not to be the boss of you. Don’t make too long lists, that you know will never manage to complete, and then feel bad about yourself. Accept you are a human not a machine and work is not the only thing in the world. Always make time for loved ones and yourself.
If you need a little help with motivation try my morning routine for motivation boost.
And a little word of encouragement for you. No one is perfect and there is no reason to force yourself to be. Do what you can, how you can.
“One who is persistent climbs the mountain.”
Do you have some special tactics you use to write and actually stick to your to-do list?